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Local residents object to Chancellor’s expansion plans

57 neighbours submit comments

Chancellor's School, Brookmans Park showing area to be developed Image copyright North Mymms News, released under Creative Commons
Chancellor’s School, Brookmans Park showing area proposed for development
Image copyright North Mymms News, released under Creative Commons

A total of 64 comments have been received by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council in response to the resubmitted planning application from Chancellor’s School for new sports facilities and classrooms.

Of those 53 were from residents living in Pine Grove who were mainly concerned about traffic issues.

The local green belt society, parish council, and the Campaign for Rural England have all objected to the school's plans.

The proposal, set out in planning application 6/2019/0085/MAJ is for:
“Erection of building comprising sports hall with associated changing facilities and 7 x classrooms built on existing hard play tennis courts; 4 x hard play sports pitches to be provided to replace existing; provision of 33 x parking spaces; and two mobile classrooms to be provided for the duration of the project.”
An earlier application 6/2018/2178/FULL was withdrawn last year.

In January a letter was sent out to local residents inviting them to comment on the building plans, which had been resubmitted following a traffic survey commissioned by the school to try to assess the impact of the plans of the local roads.

Now the public consultation has closed the comments submitted can be found by clicking on the 'documents' link on the planning application page.

Sport England wrote: “Unfortunately there is insufficient information to enable Sport England to adequately assess the proposal or to make a substantive response. Sport England’s interim position on this proposal is to submit a holding objection. However we will happily review our position following the receipt of all the further information.”

North Mymms Parish Council (NMPC) submitted a “major objection” to the application. In a lengthy submission, the parish council lists a number of issues including the design and traffic.

NMPC describes the proposed plans as being “unimaginative and the materials proposed industrial, which for a Green Belt site show a lack of sympathy from the designers for the natural surroundings”.

Regarding traffic, the parish council says the recent transport assessment is “nonsense” and does not “reflect accurately” the traffic flow at the junction of Pine Grove, Georges Wood Road, and the A1000, nor does it reflect “the dreadful parking in Pine Grove around the School”.

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council Parking Services also highlighted the current parking problems saying that the additional 33 parking spaces set out in the plan will not be available until at least September 2020 during which time there will have been at least one additional intake of 30 pupils.
“Currently there is parking congestion at drop off and pick up times and this will be exacerbated if the school number were to increase. The Council receive reports of parents parking/waiting on yellow lines during the days and times they operate and this can cause obstruction. The Parking Enforcement team are not able to be at all schools at all times.”
The Hertfordshire branch of the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) objected to the “inappropriate development in the Green Belt, contrary to the Green Belt policies in the National Planning Policy Framework, the current Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan and the Submission Local Plan currently under Examination in Public”.

North Mymms District Green Belt Society took a similar line when submitting a 10-point objection saying the application “represents inappropriate development within the Green Belt”.

Of the objections from local residents the majority mention traffic as being “at breaking point”, with “roads gridlocked”, driveways being blocked, chaotic traffic conditions causing havoc locally, buses getting stuck, and pollution.

Others neighbours echoed the green belt issues and expressed concern about the environmental impact of the building plans on the neighbourhood.

WHBC Client Services saw: “No impact on domestic refuse/recycling services”.

The consultation period is now over and the planning committee will consider the application.

Because the NMPC have submitted a Major Objection, the application will now be determined by the Development Management Committee made up of Borough Councillors rather than a delegated decision by Planning Officers.

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